State and Local Policy Manager at the Vera Institute of Justice
Jose Chapa is the State and Local Policy Manager at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he focuses on various criminal justice reform legislative campaigns that impact our communities. In this role, he guides the Institute’s staff in building advocacy skills, navigating political and governmental environments, and fostering effective partnerships with grasstops and grassroots allies.
Prior to Vera, he worked at the Immigrant Defense Project, where he led various legislative campaigns in support of immigrant communities, including the “Protect Our Courts Act” which stopped ICE from arresting and detaining people at the state courts. He also worked as the Legislative Campaign Coordinator for the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign in New York State, where he led the efforts to pass “Farmworker Fair Laborer Practices Act” which provides basic labor rights protections to the state’s farmworkers, including their ability to unionize.
Born in Mexico and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, Jose graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies in 2007.
What inspires you about the impact of Latino Changemakers that you see all over the US?
Even as our communities continue to be underrepresented in multiple industries across the country, Latino changemakers across the United States have an outsized impact. I believe this is due to our tenacity, creativity, and resilience. Dolores Huerta inspires us through her leadership and decades of advocacy for labor rights. Gloria Anzaldua inspires us through her eternal poetry. America Ferrera inspires us through her trailblazing television and movie roles. Jorge Ramos inspires us by forcing tough questions on our world’s strongmen. My parents inspired me through their resilience and showed my family the value of education and hard work by growing up as a migrant farmworker.